Design, Development, and Test of Shuttle/Centaur G-Prime Cryogenic Tankage Thermal Protection Systems

  • Peter N. MacNeil
  • James E. England
  • Richard H. Knoll
Part of the A Cryogenic Engineering Conference Publication book series (ACRE, volume 33)


The thermal protection systems (TPS) for the Shuttle/Centaur were designed to provide fail-safe thermal protection during prelaunch, launch ascent, and on-orbit operations as well as during potential abort, where the Shuttle and Centaur would return to Earth. The TPS selected used a helium-purged polyimide foam beneath three radiation shields for the liquid-hydrogen (LH2) tank and radiation shields only for the liquid-oxygen (LO2) tank. A double-walled vacuum bulkhead separated the two tanks. The LH2 tank had one 1.9 cm-thick layer of foam on the forward bulkhead and two layers on the larger-area sidewall. Full scale tests of the flight vehicle in a simulated Shuttle cargo bay gave total prelaunch heating rates of 25.9 and 12.9 kW for the LH2 and LO2 tanks, respectively. Calorimeter tests on a representative sample of the LH2 tank sidewall TPS indicated that the measured unit heating rate would rapidly decrease from the prelaunch rate of ≈300 W/m2 to a desired rate of < 4 W/m2 once on-orbit.


Combustion Convection Foam Transportation Helium 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    O.F. Spurlock, “Shuttle/Centaur–More Capability for the 1980’s,” IAF Paper 83–18, Oct. 1983.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Atlas-Centaur AC-19 and AC-20 Performance for the 1969 Mariner Mars Missions,” NASA TM X-2278, 1971.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    R.F. Lacovic, “Thermodynamic Data Report for the Titan/Centaur TC-5 ?xtended Mission,” NASA TM X - 73605, 1977.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    R.H. Knoll, P.N. Mac Neil, and J.E. England, “Design, Development, Ar.1 Test Of The Shuttle/Centaur G-Prime Cryogenic Tankage Thermal Protection System,” NASA TM-89825, 1987.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Safety Policy and Requirements for Payloads Using the Space Transportation System (STS),” NASA TM-85402, 1982.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Payload Ground Safety Handbook,” KHB-1700.7, Rev. A.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Shuttle System Requirements For Shuttle/Centaur Stage And Airborne Support Equipment,” NASA Johnson Space Center, JSC-07700, Vol. X, Appendix 10. 16, Dec. 1985.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Flammability, Odor, And Outgassing Requirements And Test Procedures For Materials In Environments That Support Combustion,” NASA TM-84066, 1981.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    E.C. Magison, “Electrical Instruments In Hazardous Locations,” Third Revised Edition, Instrument Society Of America, Pittsburgh, 1978.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter N. MacNeil
    • 1
  • James E. England
    • 1
  • Richard H. Knoll
    • 2
  1. 1.Space Systems DivisionGeneral DynamicsSan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.NASA-Lewis Research CenterClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations